Born in 1931 in the Bronx, New York, Dominic Chianese made his film debut in 1972′s Fuzz. In 1974, he appeared in one of the classic gangster movies of all-time, The Godfather, Part II. For the next two decades, Chianese continued to carve out a substantial career as a character actor before signing on to the HBO show The Sopranos in 1999, for which he received numerous accolades, including two Emmy nominations.
Early Life and Stage Career
Born on February 24, 1931, in the Bronx, New York, Dominic Chianese is a versatile performer with a career spanning more than five decades, Chianese got his start on the stage. He appeared off-Broadway in theAmerican Savoyards in 1952, which led to national tours of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado and Patience.
Now a veteran stage performer, Dominic Chianese has performed in musicals and dramatic productions at the Yale Repertory Theatre, Center Stage, Long Wharf Theatre and the New York Shakespeare Festival, among several other venues.
Film and Television
Chianese made his film debut in 1972 in Fuzz. Shortly after, he appeared in one of the classic gangster movies of all-time, The Godfather, Part II (1974) which starred Al Pacino. Around this time, Chianese appeared in several of director Sidney Lumet’s films, including the explosive drama Dog Day Afternoon (1975).
For the next two decades, Dominic Chianese continued to carve out a substantial career as a character actor in film, on the stage and on television. He showed his range as an actor by appearing on a diverse mix of TV shows, from the crime drama Law & Order to the comedy Hope & Faith. He often played the role of the gangster as he did in the HBO biographical film Gotti(1996). It would be Chianese’s portrayal of another mob figure on another HBO program, however, that would make him a star and a staple of popular culture.
‘The Sopranos’ and Other Roles
The HBO television series, The Sopranos, began airing in 1999, with Chianese on board as Carrado “Uncle Junior” Soprano. Short-tempered with often frustrated ambitions, his character often experienced conflict with his nephew Tony Soprano (played by James Gandolfini) over the family business. Chianese brought this aging mobster character to life, presenting him as a complex human being rather than a stereotypical figure. His hard work paid off: He received numerous accolades for his performance on The Sopranos, including two Emmy Award nominations for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series, in 2000 and 2001.
In addition to his work on The Sopranos, Chianese has pursued a career in music, releasing two albums: 2001′s Hits, which features a few original compositions by Chianese, and 2003′s Ungrateful Heart, a collection of Italian songs. Chianese often gives performances in the New York City area.
Dominic Chianese can currently be seen as a guest actor on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire as Leander Whitlock, a retired Atlantic City alderman.
Dominic Chianese has been married to Jane Pittson since 2003. He also has a son, Dominic Chianese Jr., who is an actor.